Last week nearly the entire “12×12” group had dinner together to review all the investment opportunities in the pipeline as well as brainstorm on how we best engage the entrepreneurial ecosystem. As you may recall we have assembled 12 serially successful CEO’s and 12 active VC’s in town to start 12 new companies in the next 12 months. Around this group we have wrapped some notable industry luminaries such as Desh Deshpande, Paul Sagan (Akamai), Jonathan Kraft (Patriots) and Steve Vinter (Google).
There are a few new companies coming out of this effort which we will be announcing shortly. Additionally – at last count – there were 6 to 7 new projects in varying stages of formation. Notably a number of leading service providers have stepped forward to help accelerate the company formation process (as my good friend Eric Paley at Founder Collective – and one of the 12 VC’s – said “it is jet fuel for these companies”). Specifically, Foley Hoag is providing legal services, PwC is providing accounting/auditing/advisory services, Yankee Group is providing research, BNY Mellon is providing personal financial advisory services – all at no or little cost – to name a few.
We had an interesting debate about whether the successful “12×12” companies will be driven by the quality of the idea or the quality of the entrepreneur. The very clear consensus was that it was all about the person – hands down. So how can this group best connect with the “best and brightest” next generation entrepreneurs out there? Please weigh in. I am eager for your input. We have assembled a great and motivated group of mentors (the CEO’s) and investors (the VC’s) – and now have many of the requisite service providers stepping up – we just need great passionate start-up talent.
One avenue for us will be to work with MassChallenge which is doing a tremendous job corralling great deal/people flow across numerous business plan competitions in the state. The “12×12” group is excited to get to know the entrepreneurs who are surviving the rigorous MassChallenge screening and coaching process.
The other avenue is for the “12×12” group to start to more broadly promote specific investment themes which we find most appealing – and to see if there are matches out there. A couple of themes which seem to be bubbling up include:
- Technologies which facilitate the work flow in physician offices and hospitals
- Robotics. Full stop!
- Novel educational applications
- Faster, cheaper data management platforms
- Social commerce married to digital media – “contextual content for commerce”
- Demand side energy management infrastructure and applications
Stay tuned for some exciting new company announcements.
And congrats to Jim Baum, CEO of Netezza, and one of our 12 CEO’s – Jim had a very big week this week.
And a heartfelt “thank you” to my good friend Jonathan Kraft for opening his home and hosting this group last week for dinner…